2019 Ford Focus ST: The Hot Hatch America Doesn't Get
For many years, Ford’s European lineup was full of exciting, performance-oriented compact cars that we didn’t get here in the U.S. First there were the rally-bred Escorts and Sierras, and then there were high-performance Focus and Fiesta hot hatches. But then earlier this decade, that changed as Ford decided to unleash its Focus ST, Fiesta ST and finally the Focus RS onto American shores. It was a good time indeed.
Unfortunately though, the good times weren't to last. With last year’s announcement that it would be phasing out all of its small cars and sedans from the U.S. market, America would again be deprived of those cool European Fords—and with the debut of the next-gen Focus ST, we just got a look at one of those cars we won’t be getting.
Under the hood, the new Focus ST moves from a 2.0L EcoBoost four-cylinder to a 2.3L EcoBoost motor, and with it comes a power jump up to 278hp, some 26hp more than in the old U.S. market car.
Equally big are the changes to the drivetrain. The six-speed manual now has an auto rev-match system and, for the first time, a seven-speed automatic is also available. A new electronic limited slip system also helps to put the added power to the ground.
Elsewhere, the Focus ST gets other upgrades including multiple drive modes, an anti-lag system, revised suspension, more capable brakes and all the other goodies you’d expect from a proper hot hatch.
While the new Focus ST would fit nicely in a front-wheel drive segment that includes cars like the Civic Type R and Hyundai Veloster N, it looks like those of us in the USA will just have to admire the car from a distance and think about what could have been.